Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture – The Utsunomiya Brex punched their ticket to the B. League Finals with a 96-78 win over the Kawasaki Brave Thunders in Game 2 at Brex Arena on Saturday that earned the club a sweep of their semifinal series.
Utsunomiya will be making its first appearance in the final round since the league’s inaugural season in 2016-17.
One day after a tight 68-65 win over Kawasaki, the Brex exploded for 96 points — which ties the second-most the Brave Thunders have allowed in regulation this season.
Forward/center Ryan Rossiter had 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists to guide Utsunomiya to the win in Game 2.
The Brex will face the winner of the other semifinal between the Chiba Jets Funabashi and Ryukyu Golden Kings. The decisive third game of that series will be played Monday.
“We haven’t been to the title series since we captured the championship in the league’s first year,” Utsunomiya guard Yusuke Endo said after Game 2. “I’m pleased to advance to the Finals again but we know we have to win two more games.”
The league has modified the format of the Finals this year, going from a winner-take-all contest to a three-game series to determine a champion.
“I’ve been to the Finals in person as a guest commentator and have been jealous of the players that can compete in the special environment,” Brex guard Makoto Hiejima said. “I’ve desperately wanted to play there. I’ve imagined how I would play there and now I just have to execute.”
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